This study will clarify the forces that influenced the evolution of primate social behavior by addressing questions regarding baboon behavior and human-baboon interactions. The first aspect of the research will test theories that are based on social behavior in relation to ecology by examining variation in primate social behavior given changes in food resource distribution and predation pressure arising from human land use practices. This will be achieved by answering two related questions -- how do baboons modify social behavior in response to 1) human alterations of their habitats and 2) human changes in predation risk? The second aspect of the study will test theories that predict how human cultural beliefs and practices influence human-baboon interactions. This aspect of the study will incorporate how different human cultural land use practices influence the relationships humans have with baboons by addressing the following questions: In the different land use systems, what are people's values towards baboons, and how do these values, in turn, influence human-baboon interactions while sharing the same environment? The study will take place in Laikipia District, Kenya for 18 months. Baboon social behavior will be recorded during ten minute focal samples while data on human-baboon interaction will be conducted using semi- structured and structured interviews. This project seeks to examine the olive baboon's response to particular types of environmental changes which will provide insights on how this species adapts to changes that are likely to occur in habitats where baboons and people coexist. Furthermore, understanding how local people view and interact with baboons and other wildlife provides a means of evaluating whether local communities can be encouraged to make land use decisions aimed at facilitating the human-baboon coexistence. This research will also yield practical contributions to wildlife management and conservation practices as well as contribute to the training of a female Kenyan graduate student.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/09 → 8/31/11|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))